There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

In Praise of the English Spring

Oh to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees some mornings unaware,
That the lowest boughs and
the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf
While the chaffinch sings
on the orchard bough
In England~now!
~Robert Browning

The bluebell woods of Harcourt Arboretum, Oxford.

I've never waited so expectantly for spring until moving to England seven years ago. Long months of a dark winter build the expectation until by April, all you think about is spring. It's no great secret that British weather can be dire, and often a February day is no different than a day in June--just as cold or just as warm, just as rainy or just as sunny.

"I will praise the English climate till I die--
even if I die of the English climate....."
~G.K. Chesterton

I remember one of my first visits to Britain with my sister in November of 1996.  It was a cold and windy Sunday--no warmer than about 48F/9C, and the chill wind came directly down from the north sea.  But it was sunny and clear, not a cloud in the sky.  We were visiting the Vale of White Horse, walking the chalk hills that hold the Neolithic chalk horse carved into the hillside.  What struck both of us were the people with us on the hillside, picnicking, frolicking, laying in the sun, like it was a warm summer day--and we were freezing.  So much so, that I had bought a warmer coat earlier in the day.  But, after seven winters, now I know.  Now I'm one of the people out soaking up the sun and engaging in the very English past-time of weather-watching and weather-waiting,  No people wait for spring as expectantly as the English, but that's because there's no surpassing the English spring when it finally arrives.

"Flowers really do intoxicate me."
Vita Sackville-West

It's as though I waited my entire life to be able to grow flowers in England, and to watch the weather through the eyes of a gardener.  Now when spring arrives again, I feel myself opening up to the sun and the warmth of the day, just as much as the petals of a pansy, and an English spring day feels like coming home.

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could
choose I would always greet it in a garden."
-Ruth Stout

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